personally I have had no problems with lower wattage systems. Right now I have a 30w integrated with 6ohm 89db speakers and it gets louder than I can stand with no issues.
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OnHi61 is right; any number of integrateds with more juice than 70epc.
For example, there is a Plinius 9200 up here now that could be had for around your pricepoint that it rated at 200 wpc. (No connection to seller; I mention it as an example only because I've always wanted to try a Plinius.)
Shumph is right, of course, that how much juice you need depends on your listening habits and speakers, though the flexibility more juice provides is very welcome, if you want to try more speakers. (My hunch is your current 91db speakers would welcome a bit of power.)
As for for "going integrated," I went from separates to an integrated and love it. I sometimes miss wonking around with separates, but the simplicity and value of the ntegrated route is very nice too.
Also keep in mind that no 2 companies rate power the same way. If you took a bunch of amps all rated at the same amount of power and measured them all the same way, there's almost a 0 chance that 2 or more would put out the same amount of power. Sometimes the difference is small, but in many cases, the difference can be huge.
I tend to agree that at the $1500 range an integrated amp would provide a greater return on $$ in most cases. That said, there are cases where the flexibility of separates may need be considered.
As Zd states, power ratings vary widely between companies. Ratings for 4 and 2 ohms helps when comparing the ability of amps to drive speakers.
It seems to me that there are more integrated amps that lack phonostages than possess them. Not that I have surveyed this discreetly.
Given that I have followed and responded to your other thread, I would like to ask if are you now rethinking your system. Are you?
First of all, forget about Stereophile's recommended components. Glossy rags are basically just advertisements. They promote the products of those companies that pay them to promote their products.
Second, yes in the $1500 range (and much higher), integrated amps are the way to go, IMHO. It also saves you money on cables and power cords (don't ask).
Third, in regards to power, you have to understand that power is logarithmic function. It takes 10 times the power to double the sound pressure levels. That means that a 200 watt amp will play twice as loud as a 20 watt amp. In most rooms, at most levels, for most people, you will not need gobs of power for a speaker of 8 ohms and 91 dB sensitivity. In a small room you may even be happy with a 10-20 wpc amp. A larger room, or tastes for louder music may require 100 wpc or more. The larger the room, the more energy it will take to fill it.
An example: My room is 25 X 15 X 9, my speakers are rated at 90db and a 5 ohm load. My 85 wpc integrated amp plays plenty loud enough for me. Now I do not rock out at 100 dB+ levels, if you do, maybe you will need more power. I play it loud enough to drive the wife nuts though. ;^)
Yeah, but loudness and size of the room aren't the only considerations. You need an amp with enough power to control the speakers. That may not be a lot with some of the modern speakers, but with class A/B SS, if the amp is not controlling the drivers, the drivers will send signal back to the amp resulting in harsh and ugly SQ. That's probably not an issue with tubes and class A I'm guessing.
+1. A compilation of the points made by Zd, Jmc, and Arnett regarding rating philosophy, design type, sound pressure/power relation. They all affect the value of a wattage rating regarding an amps ability to drive speakers. Room size and room dampening affect the the perceived loudness at the listening position relative to the sound pressure developed at the speakers.
A true 8 ohm speaker (not dropping much below 4 ohm across the frequency range) with a benign phase angle, with a sensitivity of 90+ ( which is moderately high by my assessment) should be well controlled by a 50 watt amp for use in home environment listening room.
Though I tend to agree with those who declare that one cant have too much power for a speaker, I also agree that one can pay for too much power when considering amp quality characteristics and total system budget.
I own a BEL 1001 MK5. It is rated at 50 wpc into 8ohms, 100 wpc into 4 ohms and 200 wpc into 2 ohms. Though I know there are a few other 50 wpc amps on the market that are better at driving speakers, I believe there are far more 100 wpc amps that are inferior in this regard.
I read Sterophile and TAS and enjoy the reviews for entertainment. I have used them to steer me towards products to audition. Much is provided about regarding amplifier and speaker specifications. I have never bought a product without listening to it, unless I knew I could return it or sell it at little loss (the usual case for me as i often buy used).
If I was building a system based on a $1500 budget for amplification, I would search out a 50-100 wpc( close to 2x that into 4 ohm) integrated amp and 6 - 8 ohm speakers of 87db or better sensitivity. I would chose the combination that most satisfied my listening preferences. For many starting out in this hobby, knowing what it is about the sonic experience that is most important to them is not yet known.
Mesch has giben the most accurate info. so far. I would simply add that it is quite possible to assemble a system comprising separates if you shop carefully. Emotiva offer a very good preamp (XSP-1) and amps of reasonable wattage (70-150 watts per channel, XPA-200) that will rock your world. The links provided show a system for $1500 that does everything you want...
And they have 30 days in-home trial and a 5 year warranty...
I think the sound quality of those watts is more important than the levels, unless you are hosting Dub parties where it (sound quality) really doesn't matter much except for bass of course. I have to wonder what people are doing in these "large" rooms...set up the speakers and sit 40 feet away? Using the system as a PA to call down to the butler pantry? I have a large-ish room for my hifi rig and the system is set up so I sit relatively close (9 feet from the mains maybe) with the back wall several feet behind my sofa/sweet spot. My 60 to 85 watt tube amp and 90 or so db speakers get too loud if need be (150 watt sub also). I bet a great sounding 50 watt integrated amp will deliver more pleasure that a mediocre 150 watts, and for less moolah. If I need to make the rafters shake, I'll apply my 1000 watt PA rig (I use it for mostly house concerts and pro monitoring).